Modern braking systems typically are self-adjusting to ensure that the brake pad maintains constant contact with the braking surface on a rotor or drum when the brakes are applied. Older brakes may need periodic adjustment where the pad is realigned to close the gap between it and the surface by tightening adjustment screws in the brake mechanism.
Brake Repair Questions & Answers
Several things can cause brakes to squeak. One reason could be moisture on the brake pads when they contact the disc (also known as the brake rotor). The brake pad material can also squeak as the pads wear down through normal wear. But perhaps the most common culprit is the brake pad wear indicator. This indicator is a piece of metal designed to make the noise of metal-to-metal contact when your brake pads are worn down past a certain point. In that case, your brakes are sending you a clear signal: it’s time to replace the brake pads and have the brake rotor(s) resurfaced or replaced.
Checking the brakes is just one way to keep your car operating safely.
Brakes generally refer to the entire braking system. Brakes include brake pads, calipers, rotors and, for older vehicles, brake drums. Brakes work together with the brake lines, which supply hydraulic pressure from the brake master cylinder under the hood. Brake pads are specifically the part of the brakes that apply pressure to the rotors or brake discs, “squeezing” the vehicle to a stop.
An average life span for brake pads should be around 40,000 miles. But there are several reasons why that life may be shorter or longer. If you often hammer on the brakes to stop suddenly or if you tow or haul a lot, your brake pads may wear out sooner. On the other hand, if you drive conservatively, slowly approaching a stoplight and applying gentle but steady pressure, chances are you may exceed that 40,000-mile mark. Either way, it makes good sense to care for your car well.